Harass and serve?
July 5, 2012 11:40 PM   Subscribe

Guy who sexually assaulted me is trying to become a cop. This makes me terrified and enraged. Help?!

I feel in so many ways violated all over again after finding this out and completely terrified. I'm scared what a guy like that is going to do with that type of power and now I'm triggered whenever I see law enforcement.

I'm in therapy and working through everything that has happened (or trying to).

What can I do to feel safe again after hearing this? I've been praying it doesn't happen but it looks very well like it will.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, that's really rotten.

Dumb question, perhaps: Is there anyone you can go to with what happened so you can stop him from becoming a cop?
posted by dunkadunc at 11:44 PM on July 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

A friend of mine recently became a cop. There is an EXTENSIVE interview process, or at least there was out here; they questioned him in depth about a public drunkenness arrest (no jail time) from eleven years prior, when he was 22. I can ask him if you like, but I am 99% sure that your story is information that the sergeant would want to have.
posted by KathrynT at 11:47 PM on July 5, 2012 [11 favorites]

Oh man - did you ever report it or press charges? KathrynT has a very good point. This may be the time to gather immense strength and do it, if not.
posted by namesarehard at 11:52 PM on July 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Ugh, and just to say, I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I empathize from some personal experience, though not as horrible as what you're describing - a crazy f*ck I filed a restraining order against is out there practicing medicine, and it is upsetting every time it crosses my mind. If you haven't reported it, it may help you to think about how you could be protecting other women...
posted by namesarehard at 11:54 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't forget that you don't have to do this alone; you can get a lawyer or volunteer with a womens shelter to help you with this.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:03 AM on July 6, 2012 [17 favorites]

One of my male relatives was in the process of trying to become a cop (decades ago). He gave his sister as one of his references. When called, his sister told the reference checker about his hair trigger, explosive temper. Don't know how much of an effect that reference alone had, but male relative did not become a cop.
posted by cairdeas at 12:09 AM on July 6, 2012 [10 favorites]

I think you should send an anonymous letter. Might help.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:29 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Talk to your therapist. Do some research. Make a plan and execute it.

Stop him from becoming a police person.

Thank you.
posted by jbenben at 1:24 AM on July 6, 2012 [24 favorites]

Before you make a contact or write a letter, please get legal advice. Making or publishing statements that impact on a person's career could be grounds for a defamation of character lawsuit. It matters not if that is wrong or right, or that it sucks that you could get sued for this, or if, in the end, you win the suit, the cost of defending yourself, not to mention the emotional impact it would have on you, could be expensive.

I am not a lawyer. I have, however, had some conversations with an attorney regarding a defamation suit.
posted by HuronBob at 3:04 AM on July 6, 2012 [6 favorites]

OP did not answer the question of whether she reported it. If she did not, there is not likely anything that she can do about this situation. But legal consultation is a must.
posted by megatherium at 4:37 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Dear Anonymous, I am a cop (in a largish Canadian city) and I definitely don't want to be working with anyone with anything like that in their history. One thing that your question didn't state is whether or not you'd ever reported the assault to the police... If you never did it would be worth doing now, even though the likelihood of any prosecution with a late report is much lower due to the obvious difficulties in gathering evidence other than statements.

I talk to people all the time who think that if they didn't report right away there's no point at all, and I want to say for the record that's not the case. While it's true sexual assault cases are difficult to prove in court that doesn't mean that the report itself won't have value. For one thing it could prevent this guy from getting into a position of authority and power where he might be able to abuse someone else in the future. Additionally if someone else where to make a complaint against the same person in the future it's really useful to have a history on file, even if it's not a conviction the existence of a previous report will give the officers extra motivation to get the investigation done (especially if it looks like he "got away with it" the first time around). Some sexual predators are really smart at picking targets who won't report or who are hard to put on the stand if they do report (prostitutes, the mentally ill, drug addicts etc.), but if every one of those people would still take the time to report (some do, some don't) we'd be able to see those patterns a lot sooner and offer the support needed to put the guy away.

Like a lot of people here I got distracted with "how can I stop this guy becoming a copy, rather than your actual question....

To answer your question, what can you do to feel safe for yourself personally? Well, I want you to know that there are cops out there who would do everything in our power to keep that guy away from you and away from any position of authority. Just like any other group we do have some jerks, but contrary to the "thin blue line" perspective you see on TV, of all the professions in the word the one I'm most interested in cleaning up is my own. I don't know where this guy is applying but I do know that the screening is often more detailed than people realize...

Here's a sort of amusing story about how some RCMP applicants have been burned during the polygraph , needless to say those people didn't make the cut.
posted by BlueSock at 4:42 AM on July 6, 2012 [57 favorites]

You are in therapy - maybe your therapist can contact the police department.
Obviously, they would want to know this information.
posted by Flood at 4:53 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hi. I had this exact situation happen to me, and it finally provided me with the motivation to file a report. I would like to let you know that you can in fact file a report /without/ pressing charges or going through the stress and confrontation of a trial. No one can sue you for defamation or anything like that for filing a report, and the report does not obligate you to do anything.

My experience went a little bit like this: I called the police department of where I had lived and where he was trying to become a cop. I did not mention "I know he's trying to become a cop." I said, "I'd like to make a sexual assault report." I was able to do the entire thing over the phone. It did require me to have a brief, maybe thirty minute conversation with an extremely sympathetic and nice cop, who inputted it into his system. He asked if I wanted to file charges, and I said no, and he thanked me anyway and said that it could really help if they get another charge in, for them to know that there is a previous report on file.

He did not become a cop.
posted by corb at 5:12 AM on July 6, 2012 [91 favorites]

I had a friend make a police report for a (date) rape that happened nearly a decade earlier. She made the report at my house and at her request, I was present when she did so. The police officers were VERY courteous, professional and kind. I also got the strong impression that despite the gap in time between the assault and the report, they believed every word she said.

She was given the option of pressing formal charges, so there is no requirement that you have to pursue the charges.

I am sorry all of this happened to you and wish you strength to do what is best for you.
posted by murrey at 6:26 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Anonymous, if the assault occurred in the US, in a metro area of any size, the local PD will have a dedicated unit for investigating sexual crimes. You will have the most success if you contact that unit directly rather than submitting your report to a regular patrol officer or through a main switchboard phone number. Visit the relevant department's website or use google to find the correct contact number. Also, any officer in that department should be willing to provide the contact info for sex assualt investigators if you request it.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 6:48 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I do not want this to discourage you from filing a report about your experience because I think that's the right thing for you to do. That said, I do want you to be aware that "filing charges" or "pressing charges" is not done by the victim, it is done by the state. Asking if the victim would like charges to happen is a courtesy done by the state; the state is not obligated to follow that request. There is no legal requirement that the victim consent to the state prosecuting the perpetrator, nor does the victim have to cooperate with the prosecution. It is extremely rare for the state to prosecute a person without the victim requesting charges. It does, however, happen, especially in cases where the state views the victim as potentially being manipulated by the perpetrator. I am not in any way suggesting that you follow in that category.
posted by saeculorum at 7:57 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had a friend apply to be police auxiliary in Northern Virginia and the investigation process for that was quite strict. If you reported it, it will likely come out and, hopefully, be enough reason for them to reject this person.

If you did not and can deal with it, you could reach out to the hiring department and tell them what happened. I don't know if that's enough for them to reject him, but my friend was bounced for far less. It's possible they'll never tell him why they reject him; my friend was never given a firm reason. It could have been things from his youth 20 years in the past or answers on the polygraph. So you might not ever have to deal with any fallout.

You might, though. So if you cannot deal with that you might send an anonymous letter. It might not be given the same weight but, again, if this process is anything like what my friend went through then they will certainly address it. Either with him directly or via polygraph questions.
posted by phearlez at 8:47 AM on July 6, 2012

I'm not sure about what you can do to feel safe, but I can give you some advice to help you feel strong, more powerful, and more in control after such an incident: speak up for yourself.

You did nothing wrong (I'm sure your therapist is working on that topic with you). Your assaulter deserves to have a bright light shone upon him, exposing his actions, and forcing him to face the consequences of his actions. One of which should understandably be "you will not be entrusted with the safety of people in vulnerable moments of their lives".

I know how hard it is to speak up for yourself after an assault. It can be scary to tell the truth when you have fear. It can be scary to be brave. But I promise you, keeping your mouth shut victimizes you all over again, while your assaulter gets things in life that he doesn't deserve. Speaking up lifts a weight off your shoulders, and lets you prove to yourself that you value yourself, and that you are valuable (and you are!) even if he didn't think so.

And now for some anecdata... A close relative was applying for a police department in the large metro area where we live. He was (is) abusive, and has a bad temper and a short fuse. He committed an assault against me during this period. I was terrified to report the assault because I knew it would keep him from getting the job, and I was afraid he would come after me as a result. Thank goodness, these days PD's have very good interviewing systems in place, where they do good psych analysis and weed out a lot candidates who will potentially be problematic. So he didn't get the job. All that to say, if you really, really feel like you just are not in a place emotionally to report the incident, all may not be lost. But darling girl, I speak from experience when I tell you that keeping it inside forces you to carry the weight and burden of that incident around with you for years, when it should be him carrying that burden.

I'm so sorry this happened to you. Keep your chin up.
posted by vignettist at 9:06 AM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Do you have a rape crisis center in your area? (Check the phone book or even google.) The volunteers there will be able to help you with talking this through and deciding whether to report the assault. They will be very familiar with the law enforcement people in your area, so they'd be able to tell you what it will be like. Best of all they can probably have someone go along with you if you decide to report it. Many volunteers are themselves survivors and they will understand exactly what you are going through.
posted by tuesdayschild at 2:11 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

>"filing charges" or "pressing charges" is not done by the victim, it is done by the state. Asking if the victim would like charges to happen is a courtesy done by the state; the state is not obligated to follow that request.

Somewhat true, but: Most DAs will not proceed with an indictment or information unless the complaining witness will commit to proceeding. A case where the victim does not or will not testify is very tough to win, and most DAs will not do it.
posted by megatherium at 5:50 PM on July 6, 2012

Most DAs will not proceed with an indictment or information

That is somewhat separate from what's going on.

Anon should be able to submit this information to a police department without necessarily having to do all the machinery of interacting with a DA towards a trial, if it is the case that she does not wish to.

After a consultation with a lawyer / rape crisis center staffer, she should be able to talk to the dedicated unit for investigating sexual crimes who can take the report. That unit can handshake with new-cop-admissions, who will know what questions when he is being polygraphed as part of applying to be a cop.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:01 PM on July 7, 2012

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